The University of Oregon Community Planning Workshop found that Lane County residents spend
about $1.17 billion on food annually. For every percentage point increase in the amount
of local food purchased, $11.7 million would remain in Lane County. Expanding the
local food market would help to support local farmers and contribute to
preserving farmland in the region.
Most agricultural land in the McKenzie Watershed is located in close proximity
to the river. Numerous U.S. Geological Survey studies show that pesticides and nutrients occur
more frequently, and at higher concentrations, at monitoring sites located in agricultural areas.
Agricultural pollutants increase water treatment costs and pose a risk to public health.
EWEB, however, recognizes that farms are a critically important resource in the watershed. They:
- Produce food and other important products
- Provide a livelihood for farmers
- Are a preferred land use to subdivisions and other development adjacent to the river
EWEB has developed or participates in several initiatives designed to help farms to become more
economically viable so that the land continues to be used
for this purpose, rather than being sold off for development.
The programs listed below are designed to
encourage farmers to reduce chemical use where possible,
as pesticides and fertilizers can run off of the land and into the river during rain events.
EWEB's drinking water treatment plant, like most other
conventional facilities, was not designed to treat for these types of chemicals.
The Healthy Farms Clean Water program offers farmers opportunities ranging from free
soil sampling to free agricultural chemical disposal.
EWEB is a founding sponsor of the Local Food Connection, an annual food networking event
held at Lane Community College. The purpose of the event is for producers, buyers and distributors
to network and share ideas related to local food production.
EWEB and other agencies in 2006 received a grant to collect unwanted or obsolete
chemicals being stored on farms and other agricultural property in the McKenzie River and Middle
Fork Willamette watersheds.
More recently, EWEB has assisted McKenzie farmers through the Healthy Farms Clean Water program and made free disposal options
available in partnership with Lane County Waste Management.
Additionally, EWEB, Springfield Utility Board, Lane County Waste Management and Oregon State University Extension Service
held a "last chance" chemical collection event in early spring 2012 to give farmers throughout Lane County one more opportunity
to dispose of unwanted/unused chemicals. Another 27,000 pounds of chemicals were
Email us for more information, or call Nancy Toth at 541-685-7438 or
Karl Morgenstern at 541-685-7365.